• Tincan3

    We’re Talking. Who’s Listening?

    (A version of this post also appears on The Center For Effective Philanthropy Blog.)

    In a perfect world, our ideal audiences would read every one of our tweets, consume every blog post and make sure not a day goes by without checking Facebook for our latest updates.

    But we know it’s not a perfect world, and for proof we have the results of a Center for Effective Philanthropy survey that examined grantees’ engagement with foundations’ social media. For any tweeting, blogging, or Facebook-using foundation that presumes their grantees are paying routine attention to what they’re writing, posting and featuring through social media channels, this study may surprise, but I don’t think it should disappoint.

    Read More

  • Summertime

    Five Ideas for Livening Up Your Summer Communications

    (This is cross-posted from the Alliance for Justice’s Bolder Advocacy blog, where a modified version recently appeared.)

    Guest Post:  Dan Cohen and Edit Ruano

    In the summertime, many foundations and philanthropies experience a lull in their engagement with their grant recipients and with the community. This lull often occurs because key organization staff is away or because the beautiful weather makes people less inclined to expand and strengthen their communications work.

    Regardless of the reason, we have identified five simple ideas that will help your organization embrace a number of communications channels in the summer months. If you adopt one or all of these tips, you will reinvigorate your foundation and help build momentum for the Fall and Winter months.

    Read More

  • Macongame Thumb 640

    Can “Reading” An Evaluation Be Fun? It Should Be.

    Guest Post: R. Christine Hershey

    In an increasingly visual culture, the old ways of communicating lessons learned are startlingly out of touch with how we want and expect to get information. That’s why  the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation decided to try a new approach to sharing lessons they were learning from the evaluation of two social impact games.  One game, Battlestorm, was a youth-based game to improve hurricane preparation awareness and habits on the Gulf Coast. The other, Macon Money, used an alternative form of local currency to connect residents to each other and to attract and expose people to local businesses in Macon, Georgia.  For both evaluations, the foundation wanted to communicate its findings in ways that were just as appealing, interactive, and forward-thinking as the games themselves.

    Read More

  • Story Net

    How to Gather Stories

    (This is cross-posted from the July 12th edition of Stanford Social Innovation Review, where it originally appeared.)

    Guest Post: Thaler Pekar

    I frequently write about the communicative power of story, and the insights that organizations can glean from listening to story and exploring narrative. But what is a real story, and how do you go about gathering some?

    Read More

  • Ford Foundation

    Change By Design

    I didn’t get into the Communication field because I’m a numbers person.  Words are my tools, not pixels or bytes or zeros and ones.  Pie charts are interesting – when someone else explains them.  Even spreadsheets make me uneasy.  I’d rather write a narrative. But the Ford Foundation’s Change By Design conference I attended in New York City in late June may well have been a game-changer for me. For the first time I could really see how facts and figures – when put into the hands of designers, researchers, artists and statisticians– can pack a dramatic punch large enough to have a room full of foundation veterans oohhing and aahhing.

    The event featured leaders in the fields of design, social innovation, art, and journalism, all of whom are thinking creatively about digital storytelling.  During the day-long event presenters shared case studies on topics ranging from experiential data visualization to data for news reporting to collaborative mapping.  It was a day of inspiration more than it was a day of skill-building. It was a profound shift in your thinking kind of day.  I left feeling like I’d seen the future of social change. And the future, let me just say, is information design.

    Read More